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ISLAND LEADER COMES IN FOR RIBBING

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Morris Barton, the Liberal Democrat leader of the Isle of Wight Council, who is heading a campaign for more indepen...
Morris Barton, the Liberal Democrat leader of the Isle of Wight Council, who is heading a campaign for more independence, told the authority's policy committee yesterday he would push for a full scale referendum if a test opinion poll turns out the way he expects, reports The Times (p8).

'If the vote is in favour of devolution we will need an act of Parliament. If the government still refuses to budge we will take the issue to the European court. We are not asking for outright independence, we will still honour the Crown and the government, but we have had enough of being ignored.'

Barry Field, Conservative MP for the island, said the idea was farcical.

The Daily Telegraph reports (p8) that Mr Barton had to put up with jibes from the council's five Tory members, including his cousin, Roy Westmore, who leads the group.

'Morris goes into a dream world every now and again. He wanted to buy the Royal yacht last time. Now he wants to make the Isle of Wight some sort of a republic with him as president. He fancies touring the island in a cavalcade of open top cars but nothing will come of it.'

The policy committee agreed to commission an initial opinion poll of 800 islanders from Mori at a cost of £12,000.

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